Relevance Is King: Why Relevant Training is The Most Important Aspect of Corporate Learning

Training is just something we must do in the corporate world, right? We must log into our company’s LMS yearly and trudge through those endless compliance training curricula.

But what if it wasn’t drudgery to take company training? What if it was interesting and applied to our job? God forbid, but what if instead of mindlessly clicking through, we got to do something remotely similar to what we’d do on the job!?

This all sounds a bit like a dream at this point, doesn’t it?

It doesn’t have to be a dream. When training is relevant, it can be a reality. How could this be?

Could training benefit our job and help us do our work better instead of just being something we must do? This could be a reality if your organization and the people creating your training understand the importance of relevance in training.

Content might be king for marketing but it’s absolutely not for training.

Training is nothing like marketing, where content is sometimes said to be king. Nope, in training, the king of training is relevance.

Relevance is the pivotal factor that separates effective training from mere content overload. It’s not just about how training looks or the quality of its content. It could be the best content in the world, but if it’s irrelevant to an employee’s work, it’s all useless.

It’s about aligning every aspect of the learning experience with employees’ specific needs and goals. This is why relevance is the most critical aspect of corporate training.

But why exactly is relevance so crucial for training?

Well, picture this: an employee spends hours attending a training session on advanced data analysis techniques, only to discover that these methods have little to do with their day-to-day responsibilities.

The result?

Frustration, disengagement, and ultimately, wasted resources.

Corporate training should catalyze growth, equipping employees with the skills and knowledge they need to excel in their roles. Without relevance, however, the entire training process becomes an exercise in futility.

If a company hasn’t realized that all training should be performance-focused rather than learning-focused, it eventually will. Otherwise, training is an expense that will never pay off. Training is all about empowering employees to thrive in their roles and work towards their next significant achievement.

Performance-centered training drives relevance and relevance drives performance.

Now, you might wonder, what exactly makes a training program relevant? And how can organizations ensure that their training initiatives hit the mark?

This post will answer precisely those questions as we delve into the essence of relevance in corporate training.

We’ll explore the principles, strategies, and real-life examples that showcase the transformative impact of tailored, job-specific learning experiences. You will have a new outlook on what gets created and why, shifting how you perceive training.

By the end of this post, you’ll be singing the tune of relevance being king of training.

The Importance of Relevance in Corporate Training

When it comes to corporate training, relevance is the key to success. When an instructional designer focuses on relevant content that applies to employees’ positions 100%, then the content will be 100% useful and… 100% relevant to employees.

Relevance is what sets apart effective training programs from those that fall flat. The goal of any training initiative should be to align the learning experience with the specific needs and goals of the employees and the company goals.

Every company has goals and top initiatives, and it’s the job of Learning & Development to align with those. That will make training programs relevant to the company. But every department and employee also has goals that align with the organization’s goals.

The goal of training should be relevant to the project goal, IT goals, and business goals.

So, every training program must align with company, department, project, and employee goals. That is ultimately what relevant training means. It means that training is serving the greater good of the company. Without it, training becomes nothing more than a waste of time and resources.

The importance of relevance in corporate training ultimately comes down to the training applying to employees and helping them do their jobs. While other goals are important, each employee typically only cares about their role and doing it well (I hope).

Without relevance, there are a lot of negative impacts, and it won’t go over well with anyone. Why do you think compliance training has such a negative reputation?

The Negative Impact of Irrelevant Training

Irrelevant training can have detrimental effects on both individuals and organizations as a whole. When employees are subjected to irrelevant content, they become disengaged and demotivated. They may feel like their time is wasted on information without practical application in their work.

The worst part? Employees’ impression of company training will not likely be isolated to a single session. If they have to take too much irrelevant training, it will likely affect all future training, too. You’ll get a big eye roll whenever they hear another course is required.

Bored "done with you" eye roll.

And that also means that employees will never seek company training on their own. Then L&D is only useful when required, and even then, the purpose of training will never be achieved.

This lack of engagement and interest in professional development within the company leads to decreased productivity and performance. Employees who do not see the value in company training aren’t likely to apply what they have learned in real-life situations. It’s also a great way to promote a lack of continuous learning, which is the opposite of what a company should want.

They aren’t likely to apply what they learned because they haven’t learned anything relevant to their role!

And none of that is the employee’s fault since irrelevant training is being created by… You guessed it, L&D.

As a result, even if there are some valuable nuggets of information in the training, they will be missed. That’s one reason why it’s so important to focus training and get the right goals. It remains true that nothing is important if everything is important.

Training that isn’t 100% relevant to employees will be 100% ignored and forgotten.

When instructional designers and L&D do poor-quality work, employees suffer, and companies may experience missed opportunities, increased errors, and decreased overall efficiency.

Another destructive impact of irrelevant training is high turnover rates. Just as a lack of training leads to high turnover, training with a lack of relevance can do the same because that type of training is as good as nothing. Only good digital training reduces employee turnover, bad training can increase it just as much as no training.

Employees who feel undervalued or unchallenged are more likely to seek opportunities elsewhere. This can be a significant loss for organizations, as they invest time and resources into training employees who ultimately leave.

That is, they invested the wrong time and resources by creating training that didn’t meet the needs of employees.

You now know that relevance is important to corporate training, and irrelevant training negatively impacts the organization. But what exactly is relevance in corporate training?

Defining Relevance in Corporate Training

Relevance in corporate training refers to the alignment between the content and objectives of the training program and the specific needs and goals of employees. That’s after the overall goal of training is aligned with the goals and objectives of the organization.

But, for effective training from the perspective of employees, relevance means providing them with knowledge and skills that directly apply to their roles and responsibilities. Relevant training considers the unique challenges and requirements of different organizational job functions.

For technical training, relevance recognizes how specific roles use different systems and what their primary use is for a system. In some cases, that means training can’t be 100% personalized for every role, but overall, it should be easy to apply what’s learned.

Relevance in corporate training means every part of the training contributes to employees performing better.

An example is training about different reports and dashboards in a medical application. The primary user might be a registered nurse (RN), which means the training could be tailored to them specifically.

However, a physician might also take the same training, which is not 100% tailored to them, especially if they’re an extremely small audience, which doesn’t justify creating specific training for them. It could still be relevant to them even though it’s not tailored to them.

Not all employees have the same job or even do their jobs similarly. Another technical training example is a new process for clocking into work. Field employees might use a time clock, whereas office employees might use their computers. It would be wasteful and irrelevant if an office employee had to learn about the time clock. They’ll likely tune out entirely and miss what’s important to them.

Organizations can ensure that employees receive the most valuable and applicable information in their training by tailoring training to individual roles (or at least specific workflows if there is some role overlap).

That is what relevance in corporate training is. And creating training focused on relevance first has a transformative impact on how employees are trained.

The Transformative Impact of Tailored, Job-Specific Learning Experiences

Training tailored to individual job roles has a transformative impact on both individuals and organizations. Employees feel valued and supported when they receive training directly related to their work.

Previously boring training all of a sudden becomes interesting and helpful. Not only will L&D get a better reputation, but they’ll also start helping employees rather than hindering them or wasting their time.

With relevant training, employees will see how their new skills and knowledge can be applied in practical situations, leading to increased motivation and engagement. Job-specific learning experiences also enable employees to develop specialized expertise in their respective fields.

Training with a focus on relevance and job-specific focus will transform how employees see training.

This not only benefits individuals but also enhances overall organizational performance. When employees are equipped with job-specific skills, they become more efficient, productive, and innovative.

When training programs are focused on specific skill gaps or challenges in the organization, they will become more valuable to the organization. Companies can strategically improve areas crucial for business success by focusing on relevant content.

Relevance is king in training, and once training programs are created with relevance in mind, they will have a transformative effect on the organization. Training will then create tremendous value for employees, and the business will recognize this.

Fundamental Principles and Strategies for Creating Relevant Training

To create relevant training, good instructional design is at its core because each instructional designer has the power to make training relevant. At a higher level, L&D and organizations should consider the following critical tactics essential to their training design time.

  1. Needs Assessment: Analysis is at the core of relevant training and is right up there in importance with design, which is why I agree that without A and D, instruction will be left to DIE. Yes, every training initiative should begin with a thorough analysis of employees’ learning needs and goals. This can be done through surveys, interviews, digging through content critically, or performance evaluations.
  2. Targeted Content: Develop training materials that address the identified needs and goals. What do employees need to know to do their job immediately after training? Training shouldn’t aim to make experts out of employees (at least not at first). It should be to get them going with what they need on day one, then week one, and so on. Focus on practical skills and knowledge that can (and needs to) be immediately applied in the workplace.
  3. Personalization: Customize training programs to individual job roles or tasks in their role. This isn’t always practical, but do the best you can. It doesn’t make sense to spend $15,000 on training 30 people. Sometimes, the personalization is best left to a small training session or small group coaching.
  4. Ongoing Evaluation: Just like analysis and design is essential to training, so is evaluation. Make sure training isn’t launched and then forgotten about. Continue to assess the effectiveness of training programs and make necessary adjustments based on feedback and other data.

By focusing on these tactics, instructional designers, learning and development leaders, and organizations can ensure that their training initiatives are relevant, impactful, and aligned with the needs of their workforce.

We’re in the business of improving performance and helping employees do their jobs better.

If they don’t, I guess they just like throwing money away. Just remember, instructional designers and L&D are in the business of improving performance and helping employees do their jobs or do it better, not creating training, learning, or anything else like that.

Wrap Up

Relevance is the most important aspect of corporate training. Without it, training becomes a futile exercise that wastes time, resources, and the goodwill of employees. Irrelevant training leads to disengagement, decreased productivity, and high turnover rates.

On the other hand, relevant training has a transformative impact on individuals and organizations alike.

To create relevant training programs, training professionals must consider employees’ unique needs and goals for their jobs. Performance should be the focus, never just learning. Learning is only as good as it leads to performance improvements.

By tailoring content to specific tasks and providing targeted learning experiences, companies can empower their workforce to excel in their professional endeavors. The key tactics of needs assessment, targeted content development, personalization, and ongoing evaluation are essential for creating effective and relevant training initiatives.

Organizations must prioritize relevance in their corporate training efforts in a world where continuous learning is crucial for success. By doing so, they will invest in their employees’ growth and drive organizational performance.

One of the most important first steps to focus on relevant training is working with instructional design consultants focused on performance and relevant training. Start by scheduling a free consultation with us to see if there’s a good fit to work together in transforming the effect training has on your organization.

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